If you haven't noticed, there's a lot going on in the world of international finance, and most of it is highly confusing if not entertaining. Last Thursday, for example, I pointed out in my News and Views from the Nefarium that the story of the efforts of Germany to repatriate its gold has become almost farcically self-evident attempts to disguise massive fraud in the system. Germany wanted some 80+ tons of its gold back from the Federal Reserve system, and what it received as a mere five tons, five tons that had been recast at that.
Well, the saga continues, this time in the Vatican of Pope Francis the First, as he appears to be re-arranging the cathedra ... er... chairs, in the Vatican Bank, the Institute for Religious Works (and my thanks to all of you who sent me various versions of this story), and I suspect there's a hidden story here linking it to the German Gold Farce, but we'll get to that.
Herewith one version of the story:
Now there's so much fuel here for our usual high octane speculation that one could have a bonfire, but, lest we invoke old inquisitional and Albigensian temptations for the Church of Rome, we'll stick to a few basic speculations.
The background for all this musical cathedras is summarized at the end of the RT piece:
"In the middle of 2013, Pope Francis appointed a trusted friend, Monsignor Battista Ricca, to occupy the post of supervisor and appointed an independent commission of inquiry to examine the activities of the bank and its legal status.
"His team shut down many of the suspicious accounts held in the bank and asked the Promontory Financial Group to audit the institution and bring it up to international standards.
"Pope Francis has vowed to reform the bank or close it down completely after a series of scandals that tainted the reputation of the Holy Sea and the institution responsible for its charity around the globe.
"Last July, IOR director Paolo Cipriani and deputy-director Massimo Tulli resigned, three days after the arrest of Vatican accountant Monsignor Nunzio Scarano on charges of plotting to smuggle 20 million euros ($26 million) into Italy from Switzerland.
"Dubbed "Monsignor 500", the man is currently on trial in Rome on the smuggling charge and is also under investigation for money-laundering Vatican accounts.
"In a 2010 scandal, Italian police seized 23 million euros from an IOR account. At the same time authorities launched an investigation against IOR's then-president, Gotti Tedeschi and director Paolo Cipriani for alleged money laundering from a Vatican account at an Italian bank. The money was later unfrozen and Gotti Tedeschi was exonerated as a suspect, while Cipriani hasn't been charged.
"In 2012, JPMorgan, an American financial giant closed its IOR accounts while Deutsche Bank Italia stopped its 15-year term providing electronic payment services to the Vatican.
"In October 2013, for the first time in its 125-year history, the Vatican bank disclosed its annual financial report to the public, showing a total of 4.98 billion euros in assets and 769 million euros in equity funds."
Now, recall a few weeks ago I blogged about the fact that the Vatican Bank had hired a prestigious accounting firm, the same firm, in fact, that is the auditor of record for Lloyds of London, and the Bank of International Settlements. So we may entertain the suspicion that these Musical Cathedra moves are perhaps the result of preliminary findings. But also note that this firm is not the firm now being mentioned in the RT article... so, question one: are there now two firms auditing the (evidently very large) Vatican bank, or did the new one replace the previous one, and if so, why was there not more media attention to the event?
But I suspect the real story lies here:
"Pope Francis appointed four cardinals to give new blood to the five member body tasked with overseeing the reform inside the very secretive institution. The new members of the consortium are the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Francis’s close friend Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello. The other new members are Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna and Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto. The one holdover was French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran."
Note the presence of Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn, Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna. I suspect that there may be much more here than meets the eye, and to understand what it might be we need to refer once again to the late Fr. Malachi Martin, and to his novel, Vatican, a thinly disguised book of "fiction." There, Martin makes several points scattered throughout the book, but basically the argument is this:
- After the end of the papal states during the Italian revolution, the papacy in order to conduct financial business, made a secret "bargain" with what can only be qualified as "the high Masonic powers of Europe" in order to gain access to international banking; the Institute of Religious Works is one fruit of this bargain;
- Part of this "bargain" included secret access to the proceedings of papal conclaves, and a right to veto any papal candidate if elected.
It is the second of these with which we are concerned, for in a way, this aspect of "the bargain," to use Fr. Martin's term, was confirmation of a right traditionally accorded to the Hapsburg emperors of Austria, in view of the financial and geopolitical consequences that papal elections usually had on that empire. In Fr. Martin's hands, however, this covert relationship with the Hapsburgs became the entry point for other Western financial and geopolitical interests into the Vatican's bank and finances. The presence of Cardinal Schoenborn thus suggests that this old relationship is being represented in any "reform" of the bank.
But there are other odd things we must mention - speculations - and that concerns the timing of all of this, namely, why would this effort to reform the Vatican bank occur now, amid all the quests by Germany to repatriate its gold, and amid the economic turmoil of Europe and the world, and recent pull-outs of major banks of their relationship with the Vatican (namely, JP Morgan, mentioned in the article).
Recall in this respect that the Vatican was the conduit for much of those covert slush funds based on the postwar appropriation of General Yamashita's Gold and that it was the transition point for a great deal of Axis loot leaving Europe as well... it's that history that I suspect is underwriting much of the musical cathedras at the Vatican bank, and it's that history that, I'll wager, we'll see little disclosure during the "audit process," for remember, Emperor Hirohito deposited much of his ill-gotten gain with...
.... oh, I think you probably already know...
See you on the flip side.